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Tag Archive | "63rd District Court"

Parents charged in baby’s death


Seth Michael Welch

Tatiana Elena Fusari

The parents of a 10-month-old child who died Thursday, August 2, in Solon Township have been charged with homicide-felony murder and first-degree child abuse.

Seth Michael Welch, 27, and Tatiana Elena Fusari, 27, found their infant daughter Mary unresponsive Thursday and called authorities at 12:06 p.m. to their home at 16509 Algoma Avenue, known by many in the community as Blackacre Farm. The baby was pronounced dead at the scene.

An officer at the scene reported that the baby’s eyes and cheeks were sunken into her head. 

Deputies executed a search warrant for evidence of child abuse/neglect causing the child’s death. The couple told police that they noticed their daughter’s skinny appearance the month prior. Fusari reportedly told police they did not seek medical help because they did not want Child Protective Services called, had a lack of faith and trust in medical services and cited religious reasons.

The parents were taken into custody August 3, after an autopsy revealed the cause of death was ruled as malnutrition/dehydration due to neglect on the part of the adult caregivers. The baby’s death was ruled a homicide, and the Kent County Prosecutor authorized charges on August 5. 

Welch and Fusari were arraigned on Monday, August 6. Bail was denied for both, and they have a probable cause hearing set for August 20 at 63rd District Court at 8:45 a.m.

The couple’s other two children were placed with family members.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office said they had only responded to the home once before on a matter unrelated to child welfare. 

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Kent County Sheriff’s Office at 616-632-6357 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

ORIGINAL STORY

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Two charged in youth football embezzlement


By Judy Reed

Photo by April Victorson

Two former officers on the 2017 Cedar Springs Youth Football League board were arraigned this week on charges of embezzlement in 63rd District Court. 

According to Det. Mike Tanis, with the Kent County Sheriff Department, past president James Michael Crouch and former treasurer Heather Marie Vaughn were both charged with embezzlement of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 from a non-profit or charitable organization, which is a 10-year felony.

The CSYFL contacted the police in March, after they found they had $12,000 missing, and $6,800 in unpaid invoices. About $7,000 of the missing funds was money they had saved to buy new jerseys for the kids. 

There were only two board members responsible for the money during the 2017 year—Vaughn and Crouch.

As the investigation proceeded, it was discovered that the two board members each took money from the league at different times. The missing money was never deposited into the league’s bank account.

The current board has since been doing fundraising to make up some of the shortfall. If you would like to donate, you can do it online by visiting https://cedarspringsyouthfootball.sportngin.com/register/form/058188639.

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Man arrested in beating death of grandmother


 

Matthew Malleaux

A 23-year-old Sparta man was charged Tuesday, August 15, with open murder in the death of his 85-year-old grandmother.

According to police, Matthew Malleaux lived with his grandmother, Anne Parker, on Clark Street, north of 12 Mile, in Sparta. Police and medical personnel responded to the home at about 5 a.m. August 7, after her medical alarm went off. Malleaux, who had reportedly been drinking heavily, would not let the first responders inside. Sparta police officer Mark Wawrzyniak said Malleaux swore at them, told them to leave, and threw a large cement lawn statue at one of the Rockford Ambulance paramedics and hit him in the head. He then barricaded himself inside the home. Police then called for backup.

Police saw Parker lying on the floor with obvious injuries. Due to her injuries, an emergency entry was made into the residence by officers from the Sparta PD, Rockford PD and Troopers from the Rockford MSP Post. Officers had to taser Malleaux to subdue him. He was then arrested and lodged in the Kent County Correctional Facility on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, and assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer.

Parker was transported to Spectrum Hospital where she was treated for multiple blunt force injuries. She died the following day, August 8. Her injuries included a collapsed lung, dislocated shoulder, fractured left cheekbone, fractured left orbital bone, an injury to the back of her head, and bruising to her spleen and kidney.

On Tuesday, Parker’s grandson was charged with open murder in 63rd District Court.

Court records stated that Malleaux told police he was upset about his grandmother’s medical alarm going off and that they had argued.

F/Lt. Chris McIntire, with the Michigan State Police, said in a televised interview that Parker did speak with police on scene, though he did not disclose what she told them.

“This is one of the most troubling homicides I’ve seen,” said McIntyre.

Sparta Police Andrew Milanowski agreed. “I’ve never seen one like this either. It’s troubling,” he said.

A joint investigation with the Sparta Police Department and the Michigan State Police is ongoing. Units from the Michigan State Police, Sparta Police Department, Rockford Police Department, Kent County Sheriff Department, Sparta Fire Department and Rockford Ambulance all assisted at the scene.

The last murder that occurred in Sparta was in 2004, when 23-year-old Julia Dawson was murdered by her husband Timothy Dawson. He then dumped her body in Pierson. He is serving life in prison for the crime.

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Man charged in crash that killed teen


Ted VandenBrink

Ted VandenBrink

Megan Cook

Megan Cook

A 39-year-old Grand Rapids man has been charged with causing the death of a Morley teen after he ran a stop sign while intoxicated and caused a three-car collision that resulted in her death.

The crash occurred on Sunday, November 13, about 3:40 p.m. in Alpine Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Ted Allen VandenBrink, 39, of Grand Rapids, was traveling west on 6 Mile Road in a 2008 Ford Taurus and failed to stop at the stop sign at Fruit Ridge Avenue. He then struck a 2004 Pontiac Montana minivan traveling northbound on Fruit Ridge Avenue. The force of the collision pushed the Montana into the path of a southbound 2011 Chevrolet Silverado, which also hit the minivan.

Megan Cook, 17, of Morley, was a passenger in the Montana minivan. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Megan’s mother, Beth Cook, 49, was the driver of the minivan, and Megan’s father, Randall Cook, 53, was a passenger. They were both sent by Life Ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The driver of the Silverado, David Castle, 60, of Grandville, nor his occupants were injured. VandenBrink, the driver of the Taurus, was also not injured.

Alpine Fire and Rescue and Life Ambulance assisted at the scene.

VandenBrink was arraigned in 63rd District Court on Monday, November 14, on a charge of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) causing death. His bond was set at $100,000 cash or surety.

A gofundme page has been set up to help the Cook family with funeral and burial expenses at www.gofundme.com/angelmegan.

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Rockford rowing coach arrested


 

Timothy Warren Vallier

Timothy Warren Vallier

The head coach of the men’s rowing team at Rockford Public Schools has been fired and arraigned on charges after allegedly recording videos of female athletes changing their clothes.

Timothy Warren Vallier, 30, was arrested on Friday, July 8, and has been arraigned in 63rd District Court on two obscenity charges—one charge of child sexually abusive commercial activity and one charge of possession of child sexually abusive material; and two charges of using a computer in the commission of a crime.

Rockford Public School Superintendent Mike Shibler contacted the Kent County Sheriff Department on the morning of July 8 after receiving a call from one of the crew (rowing) parents informing him that a video camera had been found in a crew vehicle with inappropriate footage.

Two assistant coaches in the vehicle reportedly saw the camera, and when one of the girls got curious and looked at it, found footage of two female athletes changing their clothes inside the changing room area of the Rockford Crew House located at 5501 Jupiter Ave., in Plainfield Township.

In a note sent home to parents, Shibler said that he contacted the Kent County Sheriff’s Department immediately, and turned over the camcorder within the hour.

“Once I became aware of the video, my first priority was to contact law enforcement in the hopes of identifying and getting the perpetrator off the streets to protect our students,” he said. “Thanks to the excellent work of detectives, this happened within 12 hours of the district learning about the video. Law enforcement asked that this be kept confidential while they conducted their investigation.”

Vallier reportedly admitted to police that he put the camcorder in the girls changing room on multiple occasions. He also said he has done this several times over the last few years, and has videos of other female athletes.

He is being held in the Kent County Jail on $100,000 cash/surety bond. The case is still under investigation.

“My thoughts are with those affected,” wrote Shibler in his letter to parents. “The fact that this can happen despite all of our safeguards to protect students is extremely troubling.”

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Servaas supports O’Hara for Judge


 

Retiring 63rd District Court Judge Steven Servaas announced last week that he is supporting attorney Jeffrey O’Hara’s bid to succeed him. Judge Servaas is stepping down after serving as the 63rd District Court Judge for 42 years.

Judge Servaas said, “I have known Jeff as a trial lawyer for over twenty-five years. Jeff has appeared in my courtroom hundreds of times. He has extensive experience in criminal law which makes him the best prepared for a court where 80 percent of cases argued are criminal. I have witnessed firsthand his courtroom skills. He knows the law, the courtroom procedure, and the rules of evidence; all of which are imperative to being an effective judge. He also has the right judicial temperament. I have never seen Jeff raise his voice or lose his temper. He always conducts himself in a professional and respectful manner. I am aware that he is endorsed by nearly every sitting judge in Kent County.  Observing Jeff as I have, it came as no surprise to me that the Grand Rapids Bar Association evaluated him as ‘Exceptionally Well Qualified,’ the highest rating. I wholeheartedly endorse Jeff for our next 63rd District Court Judge, and ask voters to join me in voting for Jeff O’Hara on November 4th.”

Jeff O’Hara has been practicing law since 1986. He has personally handled over 2500 cases. He and his wife Christie, a 2nd grade teacher in the Rockford School District, are parents to Kathryn (Nick) Wallis, Daniel, and Colleen.

The 63rd District court covers half of Kent County, from 4 Mile Road north. Any registered voter living in that area is eligible to vote for this position in the November election.

 

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